The warmth of spring is finally here! People are beginning to dig in their gardens preparing the soil for seeds and plants that will be watched over and cared for as they grow. It is likely this agricultural image that inspired Jesus to proclaim, “I am the vine you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in them will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing”. It is also an image that we can reflect upon as we continue to review the by-laws of the Church of St. Matthew that serve as a cooperative way to grow and to prosper as a parish. With the words of Jesus to support us and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to guide us, we flourish.
OF THE CHURCH OF ST. MATTHEW
SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA
(continued from Part 2: Constitution and Bylaws of the Church of Saint Matthew)
ARTICLE V: MEETINGS
Meetings and Locations
The Parish Council shall set its meeting schedule for the year no lather than its September meeting. Regular meeting of the Council will be held in a location accessible to all. The location of the meetings shall be included in the bulletin and posted on the Parish website: www. st-matts.org.
Meetings of the Council will be open to parish members. There will be time (Public Comments) allocated at the beginning of each Council meeting to address the Council. Parishioners are welcome to observe Parish Council meetings. Observers do not participate in the discussion of Council business. If an observer interrupts Council meetings to supply unsolicited opinions, they will be reminded of their role as an observer and informed that the interruption is inappropriate. If an observer continues to interrupt the Council meeting, he/she may be asked to leave the meeting.
There will be a Public Comment period at the beginning of each Council meeting. This is the time for the Council to listen to parishioners and for parishioners to register concerns, needs or request information. Comments will be limited to three minutes per person. If there are several people in attendance who wish to address the same issue or concern, the Facilitator will assign a certain amount of time to the whole group and inform the group of their time limit prior to the Council meeting. Council members may ask clarifying questions, but as a rule will not enter into dialogue or discussion with the parishioner(s) during this time period. The Council will not act on issues brought forward during Public Comment. The Council may direct the parishioner(s) to a committee or task force, have staff follow up on a concern/issue, or request a designated Council member to follow up with the parishioner(s).
The Parish Council may meet in closed session for the purpose of have a retreat, to work on governance issues or to discuss items or issues that are of a sensitive nature and that the Facilitator and/or Council determines are best to be discussed privately. During closed sessions the only people present are the Council members and staff or individuals with knowledge or information that will help with the discussion. Although the discussion is confidential, any action taken during closed sessions will be included in the Council minutes. The published Agenda will indicate the Council will move into closed session but will not identify the issue(s) that will be discussed during the closed session.
Information about the proposals adopted, including major considerations identified in the discussion, will be published as the official minutes of the Council meeting. Copies of the minutes can be requested through the parish e-mail system: or by written request. The Council will publish the minutes on the Parish website (st-matts.org) and post a copy on a church bulletin board. Minutes are considered draft minutes until approved via consensus at the next Parish Council meeting.
Standard agenda items are: Public Comments, Facilitator’s report which includes communication from parishioners, the disposition of agenda items proposed by parishioners and others, reports from committees and task forces, next meeting date, and the preliminary agenda for next meeting. The final agenda item is an evaluation of the Council meeting.
The Facilitator for the Council meeting shall formulate the agenda and distribute it to Council members with any necessary background materials two weeks prior to the Council meeting. The facilitator will ensure that adequate time is allocated for each agenda item.
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